Episode 11: Sirens (Literary technique: Fuga per canonem (fugue or polyphony by rule: weaving of various voices and motifs in counterpoint to one another). Art: Music. Time: 38 40 pm. Place: Ormond Hotel



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Commentary
Chapter named for the enchantress who turns the men of Ulysses into swine. With the aid of moly, a magical plant, Ulysses himself resists her transformative power, makes her restore his men to their human forms, and spends a pleasurable year with her befor moving homeward. The counterpart of Circe in this chapter is Bella Cohen, mistress of a brothel in Dublin’s Nighttown. When Stephen goes there with a friend named Lynch, Bloom follows in hope of rescuing Stephen from further dissapation. But when a whore named Zoe takes Bloom’s potato (his moly) as he enters the brothel, he becomes helpless against all the fantasies that swarm through his mind—including the hallucination about being turned into a pig.
Fantasies

429-430 Setting the Scene

431 Enter Stephen and Lynch

434 Enter Bloom.




    1. (1) Bloom’s recent sexual guilts. Father/Mother/Molly/Mrs. Breen.




    1. Bloom on the street. Feeds dog.




    1. (2) Bloom’s deeper sexual guilt. Mary Driscoll. The trial. The noble ladies.

475-477 Bloom and Zoe (surrenders

potato)


    1. (3) Bloom as Lord Mayor, King, Messiah, Martyr.

500-506 In the house




    1. (End of the World)

510-511 Zoe, Lynch



    1. (4) Bloom’s grandfather. Sexual knowingness.

525-527 Enter Bella Cohen




    1. (5) Bloom’s sexual guilt: Change of sex.

554-563 Bloom regains potato.




    1. (6) Bloom as cuckold. Boylan and Molly. Shakespeare.

569-578 Stephen entertains, dances




    1. (7) Stephen’s hallucination: the mother/lamp.

583-586 Exit Stephen, followed by Bloom.


586 (8) The hue and cry/Edward VI


    1. (9) Crucifixion Day/Black Mass

601 Stephen hit. Bloom and Kelleher




    1. (10) Rudy

Cf to Ulysses, Bloom gives up his talismanic potato before he enters Bella Cohen’s brothel. Thus he suffers the transformation that Ulysses avoided. In hallucination, he becomes a pig with Bella. Eventurally he recovers his manhood and liberates Stephen from the clutches of both Bella and the police. As Ulysses left Circe with his men, Bloom leaves Nighttown with Stephen headed for home.


Act 1: in which Bloom is in turn chastised, glorified, and finally immolated before coming out of his trance and meeting Bella Cohen herself.
Pursuing Stephen in the paternal hope of rescuing him from dissipation, Bloom hallucinates an encounter with his father, Rudolph, who reminds him of his own irresponsibility in youth—especially his abandonment of Judaism. Ironically, Rudolph has no idea that Bloom is trying to save Stephen from degradation, not join him in it.
It is Rudolph’s own guilt over his apostasy that he tries to load onto the back of his son.
Molly: wearing Turkish trousers as a sign of power, Molly insists that Bloom call her “Mrs. Marion”—recalling Boylan’s letter to her arranging their tryst. Bloom is also menaged by specters of all the women he has ogled, flirted with, or lusted after.
Mrs. Breen: Josie Powell is shocked to find Bloom “down here in the haunts of sin.”
Martha Clifford accuses Bloom of breach of promise.
In a courtroom, Bloom is charged with various sexual offences: accused of seeking an adulterous tryst with one woman; of making masochistic demands on another=craves punishment to expiate his guilt.
In giving up his potato, Bloom symbolically gives up his manhood and makes himself vulnerable to a series of transformations: castration: history of Irish potato famine.
In the hallucination that precedes Bella’s appearance on the scene, Bloom is first glorified, then denounced and immolated.
Becomes King Leopold the First, king of Ireland/Moses leading his people into “the new Bloomusalem”/Christ and even god of the world, with power to realize all his utopian fantasies.
Fantasies explode: Bloom attacked as “a disgrace to Christian men,” immolated, then importuned as if he were a Christian martyr.
Thus Bloom rides a roller coaster of fantaies, soaring up to the heights of glory and pitching down to disgrace and destruction.
Act 2 Bloom’s transformation into beast and woman. Transformed into a sow then changes his gender. Faces down the worst of his hallucinations, rising from his knowledge that Boylan has cuckholded him.
Fantasies about bisexual potency (8 male children) give way to assaults on his potency and manhood. As Bello, a mustachioed male, Bella subjects Bloom to various forms of humiliation:
B. forced down on all fours and turns into a sow.
S/he rides her (Bloom) like a horse.
S/he makes her dress like a whore and feel all the constriction of women’s clothes.
S/he makes her work like a servant by day and a whore by night.
S/he reminds Bloom that his house has been usurped by a real man (Boylan).
Bloom becomes an antlered flunky greeting Boylan when he comes to see Molly, permitted to look through the keyhole and masturbate while Boylan ploughs her, cheering him on. Bloom punishing himself for allowing Boyland to take Molly:
Knew for hours beforehand that Boylan was coming to see Molly but did nothing to stop him.
Feeling guilty for this failure, Bloom willfully subjects himself to the worst possible view of his response to Molly’s adultery: a repressed sense of self-loathing prompts Bloom to picture himself as the supreme cuckhold.
Act 3 Rescuing of Stephen three times: 1) when Bella tries to overcharge him; 2) when Stephen breaks the lamp; 3) when Stephen confronted by English soldiers and police.
Stephen struggles yet again to vanguish the spectre of his mother and banish the guilt she would inflict on him (her visitation balances Bloom’s conversation with his father early in this chapter).
S. insists that she was killed not by him but by cancer. Mother=God the devourer and S. rejects her pleas for repentance and smashes the chandelier with his stick, driving the spectre away.
When Bella threatens to call the police, Bloom cooly throws her a shilling and leaves. He then rescues Stephen who has a run-in with the two English soldiers. Like Bloom, Stephen uses words alone to fight his adversaries. When he tells the privates that he “must kill the priest and the king” within him, he reminds us of his sense of servitude to charch and state, but the soldier take his comment as a literal threat to the king.
Under threat, Stephen conjures up in fantasy the whole history of Ireland’s bloody struggle against England.
Apocalypse includes a black mass. Deserted by Lynch.
Bloom takes charge of Stephen and saves him from getting arrested.
In the final scene, when we might expect mutual recognition, Bloom misunderstands Stepehn: sings fragments of “Who Goes with Fergus,” the Yeats poem that earlier he remembered singing to his dying mother. Bloom thinks he’s singing about a girl named Ferguson and sees her as the “best thing could happen to him.”
As he bends over Stephen, he sees against the wall a vision of Rudy as a little boy dressed in an Eton suit and reading a book from right to left: this recalls what Bloom thought about in “Hades.” Because Rudy is here a Hebrew scholar (reading from right to left) he recovers the word of Judaism, and thus returns to the God of the fathers that Bloom abandoned.







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